Winter Nutrition Challenge for Seniors
The holidays are a fun and festive time of year. But that probably made it tough to resist the calorie-laden treats that seemed to pop up everywhere.
If you indulged a bit too much, you might find yourself feeling a little sluggish in the new year. All of us can benefit from a well-balanced diet, but seniors need to be especially aware of how food choices impact everyday life.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) says the key is a diet that includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. This can help with disease prevention and overall quality of life.
Aging Well and a Healthy Diet
Why is a healthy diet such an important part of aging well?
A well-balanced diet can impact your life and health in many ways. The NCOA reports that there are many benefits of eating well:
- Better overall health and greater independence
- Less money spent on medication
- Fewer trips to your primary care doctor
- More energy and stamina
5 Tips to Improved Your Nutrition in 2018
Here are five ways to get your nutrition on a healthier track in the new year:
1. Eat filling foods
Feeling hungry can be one of the greatest challenges to sticking with a healthy diet. But foods with high fiber content can help you feel fuller faster and stay full longer.
Try to eat more high-fiber foods including:
- Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, pears, and apples
- Vegetables: Broccoli, peas, artichokes, and leafy greens
- Grains: Whole-grain pasta, barley, and oat bran
- Legumes & nuts: Almonds, walnuts, black beans and lentils
2. Sit down and eat slowly
Mindfulness is important in many areas of life, including mealtime. Sitting down to eat—not eating standing up over the kitchen sink—can help you make better nutrition choices. It can also help you avoid overeating.
Paying attention to meal presentation is also helpful. Serving food on pretty dinnerware and setting an attractive table can make mealtime more inviting.
3. Serving size awareness
Nutrition labels can be deceptive if you aren’t careful. While you might take time to read the fat, sodium, and sugar content, it’s easy to overlook the serving size. And many times, those serving sizes aren’t very realistic.
For example, if you are enjoying a dish of ice cream, the serving size might be a half cup. Is that the amount you really eat? Pay close attention to labels to better manage portions.
4. Learn more about aging and nutrition
Knowledge is power when it comes to senior nutrition. One resource that can help seniors and family caregivers plan healthy meals is USDA’s MyPlate.
This tool is designed to help you visualize each meal and give you a better idea of what types of food should fill each section of the plate. Sunrise partners with MyPlate to promote the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines and help seniors and their families make healthy food choices.
5. Healthy nutrition on a budget
We know that eating well sometimes means spending more at the grocery store. For older adults on a fixed income, that can take a real bite out of the monthly budget. But there are options that can help seniors bridge the gap,including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can also call your local Agency on Aging for a list of community-based programs.
Nutrition at Sunrise Senior Living
The dining program at Sunrise communities is an important part of residents’ overall wellness. An in-house chef at each community helps to ensure meals are both delicious and nutritious.
We extend an open invitation to older adults considering a move to senior living to join us for a tour and a meal. Contact a Sunrise community near you to schedule a time!